Da'Quan Davis swears that he and Trevor Williams are not a package deal.
It just looks that way.
"I keep telling everybody that me and Trevor just can't get rid of each other,'' Davis said. "It's like we follow each other around.''
Davis and Williams went to middle school together, then they were teammates on the Calvert Hall High School football team in Towson, Md. During their senior years, both made verbal commitments to West Virginia. After the season, both changed their minds about playing for the Mountaineers.
As fate would have it, the first-team all-Maryland duo is going to stick together a little while longer. Davis, a 5-foot-11, 172-pound cornerback, and Williams, a 6-1, 180-pound receiver, both signed letters-of-intent with Penn State on Wednesday.
"It wasn't a thing that I said, 'hey, what are you going to do' or he said 'what are you going to do,''' Williams said. "I just made the decision that was best for me, and he made the decision that was best for him.''
Some of those reasons were similar - both stressed Penn State's academics and the ability to network through the large alumni base as motivation to pick the Nittany Lions - and some of them were different. For Davis, he was unsure how he fit in at West Virginia when the coach who recruited him left along with several other defensive coaches.
"I figured I needed to open my recruitment, and Penn State moved very quickly,'' said Davis, who also looked closely at Marshall. "It really looks like they're moving in the right direction. When I looked at it, there wasn't anything I'd have to give up. When I went up there on my visit, I fell in love.''
Williams, who also had an offer from Toledo and feelers from several other big-time programs, already had a long love with Penn State, growing up a Lions fan. He had second thoughts about going to West Virginia after hearing he might wind up at safety instead of on offense in Morgantown, and, when Penn State came calling, he said in several interviews he was going to commit it he got a scholarship offer.
"It was my dream school,'' Williams said. "When I was younger, I used to watch them play, watch Larry Johnson Jr. play. He was my favorite player. Around this time last year I met Coach Johnson. I didn't really realize at the time that was No. 5's dad.''
It's hard to envision the reasons a college team might see Williams on defense after he caught 99 passes for 1,180 yards and 15 touchdowns on an 11-2 team in 2011. Williams has been told his biggest strength is his route running, and he also takes great pride in his hands; on his highlight tape on YouTube, there's footage of Williams making a spectacular one hand grab and getting his feet down in the back of the end zone.
"The unfortunate thing is don't film 7-on-7, because he's made some spectacular catches there. But the big thing is he makes the routine catches,'' Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis, no relation to Da'Quan, said. "He's polished, in every phase: great route-runner, great hands, runs after the catch, will block down the field, plays special team, plays defense.''
Da'Quan Davis, meanwhile, has been both a playmaker and a play-stopper as a corner who plays both with athleticism and physicality. As a junior, he only gave up three receptions. As a senior, he had 38 tackles and four interceptions.
"He delivers. He's the kid that's going to get you fired up, and when you look out there during the game, he's there in the trenches,'' Coach Davis said of his star cornerback. "He was also one of our best special teams players. He blocked two game-ending field goals. In one of our games, he made a huge play downing the ball at the 1 on the punt team.''
Williams' and Davis' lives seem intertwined, and their success might be, too.
"We bring out the best in each other. In practice, we do one-on-ones. He's the only one I will rep with, because he brings the best out in me. It's great competition,'' Williams said.
While the new Nittany Lions from Calvert Hall say their college decision was coincidental, it didn't hurt that a former teammate already was at Penn State: Adrian Amos saw the field at cornerback last season as a true freshman.
"He was like a big brother to me. He helped me with tips on my game and helping me to get better. It's like it's all starting over again,'' Davis said of Amos. "The first person I met when I came to Calvert Hall was Adrian Amos, so it's kind of like dj' vu.''
Both players were lauded by their coach for working themselves into become Division I prospects, and the younger Davis vowed that he would work as if he was coming to Penn State as a walk-on. Williams is more of a cool character, while Davis is fiery, but they seem to complement each other, even if it's not always by design.
"We seem to do great things wherever we go,'' Davis said. "I guess that's a good sign.''